Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) tells National Review Online that the spending freeze is a “long, long way from the medicine we need to cure our government’s addiction.” A day before President Obama’s maiden State of the Union address, McCain also says that he is disappointed with the president’s recent mea culpa to Diane Sawyer.
“I was flabbergasted by that interview,” says McCain. “Instead of that, what I’d like to see tomorrow — and won’t — is the president saying that he promised to change the climate in Washington, but hasn’t. That he promised to broadcast health-care negotiations on C-SPAN, but didn’t. And that he promised to sit down with Republicans and work in a bipartisan fashion on issues like the economy, then decided not to. That interview was transparent. He’s looking to avoid any blame.”
“While I’m glad to hear about the freeze, and that he decided to change his position from the campaign trail, it’s only part of the solution,” McCain says. “Anything like this is better than what he’s been doing.”
Spending, McCain says, “needs to be addressed in a more comprehensive way.” So, today, he and Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) offered their own spending proposal, calling on Congress to flatline discretionary spending. “The president needs to come out and say that he’ll veto any appropriations bill that has an earmark or pork-barrel project tacked onto it. We need to be very focused on eliminating the deficit,” he says. “If the president enables earmarks to slip into bills, then we’re never going to come close to reducing the deficit.”
NRO then asked McCain to play pundit, for a moment. The big question: Why is Obama doing this now? The election of Scott Brown offers a lesson that the White House “couldn’t ignore,” says McCain. “No intelligent politician, and the president is one of the sharpest, could see what happened there and not decide to do something. Spending has been an issue for quite some time now, but one of the things we saw in Massachusetts was how deeply concerned all Americans are with our economy and how the government’s spending impacts its growth.” The people are now “in revolt” against Washington’s spending ways, he says. “Whether it’s polling data or something else, I’m glad the White House is reacting. Spending and deficit control is what people really care about right now.”